SEO 101: Ongoing Content Marketing (Part 3 of 5)
Some of you are already familiar with my series, so if you are, go ahead and skip down to the “goals” section. If you aren’t, here’s the basic rundown; this is part three of a five-part series to explain the high-level basics of SEO, from start to finish, and in this piece we’ll cover ongoing content marketing. Previously, I covered how to build an SEO strategy and proper procedures for on-site optimization.
The Goals of Ongoing Content Marketing
Ongoing content marketing can apply to on-site or off-site content production, but for now, let’s just focus on ongoing on-site content — in short, your blog (though there are other forms of content you’ll want to consider). The main goals for ongoing content for SEO include:
· Get more indexed pages in Google. Every new post you publish is going to serve as another indexed page in Google. This increases your virtual real estate, making you more likely to show up in search results for relevant queries.
· Increase relevance for specific keywords and phrases. Ongoing content provides you with opportunities to optimize for new keywords and phrases, and solidify your relevance for your existing targets.
· Increase domain and page authority. Good content attracts links, which pass authority and can increase both your domain and page authority (if you need a refresher on these concepts, check out this post).
· Other benefits. Don’t forget that ongoing content has a host of other benefits — increasing conversions, improving retention, facilitating other marketing strategies — and I’m only focusing on the SEO benefits in this article. In practice, you’ll want to tweak your content strategy so it fits into all your other strategies simultaneously.
Now, let’s look at the main strategic considerations you’ll need to bear in mind when developing your content for SEO purposes. Books could be written about this subject, (and in fact, I have written an eBook on planning and launching a content marketing strategy), but what follows is a high-level 5-step overview of the content marketing process:
1. Choose your topic. First, you need to be judicious when selecting your topics; this is one of the most important parts of the process. You need to choose topics that are relevant to your brand, but also specifically targeted to your niche audience — what do they want or need? If you don’t accomplish this, nobody will be searching for your post, and it won’t benefit you. Making matters even more complicated, you need to choose topics that your competitors haven’t covered sufficiently (so you’ll have an easier time ranking), and topics that can support your existing target keyword strategy.
2. Choose your content medium. Next, you need to consider the types of content you’re going to produce. Written content is by far the most common, because it’s perceived to be the easiest, but even then you have a number of options; how long do you want it to be? Do you want a list format or an open post? Generally, it’s a good idea to hedge your bets — include a wide range of different materials, including photos, videos, long-form, and short-form content. This will help you capitalize on more competitive ranking opportunities, and will keep your readers more engaged — so eventually you’ll earn more links and authority.
3. Produce your content, and make it awesome. Everyone talks about how your content needs to be “good” to be successful — that it needs to be “high quality,” but what does that actually mean? It’s a subjective term, to be sure, but there are a handful of factors that make a post a “good” one. It needs to be unique, thorough, concise, and detailed; when someone reads it, they need to walk away with all the information they wanted — and that information needs to be new, regardless of what type of content you’re offering. Your content should also have some emotional or personal element to it, or else it isn’t going to be share-worthy.
4. Optimize it from a technical perspective. In addition to creating “good” content in a diversity of forms, you’ll also need to make sure your content is technically optimized for organic search. As you might have already read in my past post, on-page optimization requires that you have a keyword-inclusive and descriptive title tag, meta description, and header tags. You’ll also want to format any other forms of media you include — such as images or videos — correctly. On top of that, you’ll want to be sure to include any keywords you’re targeting a handful of times (naturally) in the body of your work.
5. Promote it. Posting a piece of content alone isn’t usually enough to generate interest for it. For that, you’ll have to go above and beyond with a publication and syndication strategy. For most marketers, this means distributing the post to social media and across various promotional channels, such as email or social bookmarking sites. Here’s a checklist to reference every time you publish a piece of content to ensure you do all you can to promote it. You’ll also want to take this opportunity to tie your content into any other marketing strategies you might be using, such as paid advertising or personal branding. This will help you attract the greatest number of inbound links and therefore, authority.
If you can keep these best practices in mind for your content, remain consistent in your topics, voice, and quality, and keep your content relevant to your high-level goals, you’ll have an amazing foundation for the future of your SEO campaign. Developing an ongoing content marketing campaign isn’t easy; it takes strategic planning, research, and top-notch execution to succeed. If you want help with content marketing, see my webinar on Content Marketing 101: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started.
Next up, we’re going to be looking at how to complement your efforts with an off-site SEO strategy, then finally, how to measure the results of your campaign and put those insights to good use.